Catch Fish with
For anyone unfamiliar with the site always check the FRESHWATER, SALTWATER and TACK-TICS pages. The Saltwater page now extends back as a record of over several years of (mostly) sea fishing and may be a useful guide as to when to fish. The Freshwater stuff is also up to date now. I keep adding to both. These pages are effectively my diary and the latest will usually be about fishing in the previous day or two. As you see I also add the odd piece from my friends and correspondents if I've not been doing much. The Tactics pages which are chiefly 'how I do it' plus a bit of science are also updated regularly and (I think) worth a read (the earlier ones are mostly tackle and 'how to do it' stuff).
Saved by the baited spinner!
As always we'd been anticipating the 'maggot-fishing tides' keenly. Everything looked good, calm conditions, decent weather, weed on the beaches, etc.,etc. It was the first tide of the series and Bill, Nigel and myself tramped along the shore to our selected spot. On the previous set of spring tides there had been loads of feeding mullet and bass so we were feeling optimistic. Our optimism was soon dashed when we saw that the little bit of maggoty weed was isolated from the sea by a band of fresh stuff. Not good! We thrashed with our spinning tackle waited for the fish to turn up, but they never came. We spun with plugs and soft plastics - not a sniff.
As it happened I had a few ragworm from the local tackle shop intended for a spot of thinlip spinning and, for some reason I can't explain, I'd decided to give them a try in the sea this evening. Now many years ago I did a fair bit of experimental baited-spinner fishing from the open shore for thicklips and it was moderately successful. They were never as easy to tempt as estuary thinlips but they would take the rag baited lures at times. While I was trying this tactic it had often produced a byecatch of school bass and wrasse. Anyway, anticipating lots of feeding mullet I'd rigged up my biggest (ancient) baited spinner armed with a pennel rig and determined to give it another go after years of sitting in my lure box unused. Fishing alongside my pals with their more normal bass lures I did no better than them. Nothing was biting. A fishless session was on the cards.
It was past high water now and we hadn't seen or touched anything. I'd got the message and I decided to work my way back to a spot of deeper water alongside a big ledge in one last attempt to catch something. Out went the spinner. Was that a tap? I wasn't sure. Out it went again and I began to turn the handle of the reel. Bang! I was in. Clearly it wasn't a very big fish but it was a fish and I was pleased. Soon I was taking a picture of a small schoolie. Excellent! I popped it back and cast again. Once more I hooked and landed a bass. This one was almost a-pound-and-a-half. I returned it thinking "At least I'm going to catch a fair few bass." It was not to be. On the next cast the bite was less sharp and I landed a small ballan wrasse. Well, beggars can't be choosers, so I took its picture and released it. Then I had another wrasse and another. By the time my ' still fishless' pals turned up behind me I'd landed eight ballans of similar size (round about one pound apiece). As they watched I had another bite which turned into the only corkwing wrasse of my session. We 'gave them best' and walked back towards the car park, fishing here and there as we went. I had one more wrasse and missed a couple of bites before we packed in. All in all, not quite what I'd hoped for or expected but at least it saved me from a blank.
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The first and slightly smaller of the two bass - gives a good impression of the huge homemade lure.
A ballan - they were all this colour in the rather dirty water.
A slightly bigger ballan.
... and another.
The only corkwing.
A close up to show the amazing colour contrasts of the little fish.